Life In a fortnight we're moving back to the flat we vacated a year ago for building work. For some reason the packing doesn't seem to be as monumental this time. I didn't really unpack anything so most of my life is still in cardboard. But I filled three boxes tonight and half of everything and that seems to be half of everything I need doing.

I'm also being very ruthless when it comes to clearing out. Watching Life Laundary has taught me that I don't really need to keep half the stuff I have. The CD Roms were easy. Most were cover discs with massively old and inferior software on them and some simply weren't compatible anymore. The paperwork was difficult and filled with value judgements - how long do you need to keep payslips for a job you left four years ago?

I've always had a rather excessive video collection. I've hoarded tv recordings and I've got thousands of tapes. But looking through some of the boxes I've already packed I can't think for the life of me why I'm keeping half of them. Perhaps I've been spoilt by DVD but what's the point in keeping a second generation copy of Steel Magnolias in full screen which I taped and retaped from ITV ten years ago. I've also rammed up against the sticky problem of long play incompatibility between recorders. So all of the Quantum Leap episodes I faithfully collected from the BBC are all unwatchable because I've changed recorders twice since then.

Black bagging it all is a liberating experience. There are lots of programmes I would never let go of. Like the Adam and Joe Fourmative Years programme from when Channel 4 celebrated fifteen years of programming; or the Mark Kermode documentaries about making his favourite films; or the John Cusack movie Better Off Dead. But in the past I've thought it was important to have an archive of all these programmes, in case I had to teach a class, or anyone wanted to borrow them. But I realized that HMV has a better archive and Blockbuster loan out things as well. If it's the difference between having a room which doesn't look like the stacks at the British Library Audio Visual section and having a clear head, I'll choose the latter. I have tapes which I bought or taped five years ago I still haven't watched. Sometimes you have let go.

I'm even loosing many books. If I've read it and it doesn't have some special significance, it's gone. Douglas Adams and Monty Python are staying, Tom Clancy and John Grisham are going. I'll be keeping all of the literature I studied at school and losing all the literature I collected but never read. I've got all of Charles Dickens' novels just to look impressive on the shelf. I've never read them so why keep them? If I get the burning desire the library is always there and it won't be wasting shelf space when its finished. Already some will be pouring scorn on me, but it's amazing actually how much the human brain can keep in store. I don't need to have the volume on a shelf to talk about it.

There are special cases. My Yahoo Internet Life's aren't going anywhere. Neither my Empire movie magazines or SFX. But as a trade off Premiere has gone south as have Total Film (except for the earlier issues when it was new and fresh and Danny Wallace wrote for them). Although I know I need to filter my CD collection for the same reasons as above, for some reason music feels different. I know I'll never listen to that Speedball Baby album again, but I really like the cover. And I really couldn't live without the six minute version of Underwater Love by Smoke City.

Will there be anything I'll regret chucking out? Probably. Now and then my Dad talks about the mint condition copies of Amazing Stories and Eagle comic my late Gran threw out when she cleared out his boyhood things for him (have you seen how much the former are going for)? But almost everything is replacable I think and there are too few hours in the day to enjoy anything anymore. And besides I'm always more interested in the things I haven't seen / heard / read before than those things that I have. Which is probably why I can't wait to see what Lucas does with the old Star Wars trilogy in the next few years.

But that's a different discussion for another time. For now I'll just put it in that box over there …

No comments:

Post a comment